are left as they are."

He also said elevator manufacturers are reluctant to sell repair parts to independent maintenance firms.

Roughly 580,000 elevators were operating in Japan as of March 2005, and 90 percent of their maintenance is handled by firms affiliated with the manufacturers, according to the Japan Elevator Association, which is made up of 99 makers, including Toshiba Elevator Building Systems Corp. and Hitachi Ltd.

Though the share of independent maintenance firms is small, Gihei Takahashi, a professor at architecture at Toyo University's faculty of human life design in Saitama Prefecture, stressed that sharing safety information enables makers and maintenance firms to take measures to prevent accidents.